My Sister’s Keeper by Jodi Picoult (Atria Books, 2004, 432 pp.)
In a family struggling with the grueling demands of caring for a chronically sick child, 13-year-old Anna’s life has never truly been her own. Conceived for the sole purpose of providing a bone marrow transplant for her sister Kate, who diagnosed with a rare form of leukemia at the age of 2, Anna has been providing her with tissue samples from birth. When Anna learns of the potential long-term effects of the kidney transplant she is expected to provide, she at last decides to claim her life, and her body, for her own. Picoult deals with a controversial topic with surprising grace and scope that covers not just Anna’s story, but represents each member of the family. This slow-moving potboiler is not without some flaws. It suffers from the teeth-grating aggravation of unnecessary subplots and backstory (these can be skipped without the reader missing much), as well as a rather annoying surprise ending. But the ending is what it is. You’ll either like it or you won’t. The verdict? Minor flaws in an otherwise satisfying page-turner.
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